Wednesday, August 09, 2006


Man, I wish I would have paid attention in some of those statistics classes I took in college. Then maybe I’d be able to make better sense of the survey I posted about 2 weeks ago. I could rattle off a bunch of R-factors, coefficients, standard deviations and bell-shaped curve lingo. I could speak to mean, median and mode. I’d throw out Nth this and Nth that, hypothesis here, null hypothesis there. You’d all be on the edge of your seat and by the end of the post you’d say “Damn, I gotta get out and run more miles. Thanks Zeke!”

But all I have is this scatter plot. I converted everyone’s time, distance, sex and age into an age-graded % using this calculator and plotted that against their average miles per week. Hopefully it’s enough to get you to say “Damn, I gotta get out and run more miles. Thanks Zeke!”

A few things to note: 1) running a 3:22 marathon on 20 miles per week IS NOT normal and 2) many of the respondents are triathletes. Therefore their mileage may appear “low” but keep in mind they are also biking and swimming.

In any case, even with the relatively low number of responders, I think the graph shows a strong correlation between increased weekly mileage and increased wava percents (i.e. lower race times). So get out and run more.

I had a Boston Marathon shirt on at work last Friday and a gal asked what place I came in. I really had no idea. After visiting marathon guide I knew the answers;

In 2002 I was 1,396th of 14,400 runners.
In 2004 I was 4,302nd of 16,743 runners.

She responded with “Wow! You beat A LOT of people.” However, I was thinking “Man, a lot of people beat me.” I guess we have different perspectives.

Just an easy 7 mile recovery run today.

Quote of the day;

“The marathon, you see, is my benchmark. It is the status symbol in my community, the running community.” – Dr. George Sheehan


Anonymous said...

Damn, I gotta get out and run more miles and wish your sample was larger. How about reposting it on letsrun or coolrunning?

Thanks Zeke!

Chad said...

Susan, I didn't use speed because that can vary for age and sex. That's why I converted everything into an age-graded score.

For example, a 40 y.o. female running 5 hours would score 40%, while a 40 y.o. male running 2:40 would score 80%.

That % is one data point. Now take their mileage for their 2nd data point.

The graph (hopefully shows that) as you increase your mileage, your age-graded % goes up, which is the same as your race time coming down.

qp, hmmm, I've had such good luck with letsrun and coolrunning. Not. But I'll think about it.

Anonymous said...

Another way of looking at this is:
There doesn't seem to be a lot of difference between 50 and 70 mpw, but above 50 seems consistently better than below 50. So, maybe if you're running less than 50 you need to say, "Damn, I gotta get out and run more miles!"

So Zeke, are you surprised to see me post here?

Love2Run said...

Looking at my data 14 marathons I thought there was no relation. But wait! If I delete the Boston heat wave run and then ignore the Furman plan fiasco... But still got 'beat' by alot of runners in B-2004 (including one Z), would you believe I was 4338? Thanks for the reality check!

E-Speed said...

maybe some day I will up the mileage Zeke. I have to figure out how to do it and still enjoy everything else I already enjoy though!

SRR said...

I think saying you beat alot of people sounds much better!! :-)

Chad said...

Nah, Eric I knew you'd come around. Your response is similar to Evan's post the other day when he talked about the bigger gains from 60 to 80 than 80 and 100.

Mike, it sounds like you were right on my ass in 2004.

Liz, you're one of the triathletes that "screws up" the data. Again, a 3:27 for a woman on 27 mpw is not normal. But as long as you're enjoying everything, why change?

RR, sure it sounds better, but it won't help motivate me.

massoman said...

i haven't trued to read it, i assumed i would just run more miles, which i am doing rather slowly each week. when my race comes around in november i want to be around 45mpw.

it would be nice to run on chip covered trails. i don't know of any like that around here. here we have dirt/dust which is a great break from pavement.

sometimes knee pain comes from overused quads. my guess is an overuse problem from ramping up to fast because you havn't mentioned problems there before. resting it was a good call

Ryan said...

Those are impressive Boston place statistics. I'm just hoping to get there someday.

Glad to hear the knee issue has disappeared.

Not going to get into the debate on the stats. I'm already getting out running more miles due to your prior prodding, Zeke!

Chad said...

massoman, this park has dirt, grass and wood chip trails. They're all awesome.

Good point on the overused quad. Maybe I'd better break that foam roller out again.

Ryan, once you get to Boston, it's pretty much just another race. You'll probably finish a little further back than normal, but you'll beat a ton of people.

No need to debate the stats. After October you're going to be the poster child for the "Increasing miles = Faster times" campaign. Bloggers will come from far and wide to learn your "secret".

Oh, and I never said the knee was better.